Friday, 17 October 2008

Astronomical felines

There's something about astronomers and cats. I can't quite put my finger on it but I'm convinced that if one of those election poll agencies saw fit to do a study they'd find a larger percentage of astronomers have cats compared to the public at large.

When I arrived in Hawai`i, over a decade ago now, the person I replaced (a distinguished MBE these days) had a cat. My PhD supervisor had three of them. My first office mate in Hawai`i also had three and now I find another very distinguished astronomer in the UK, Peter, is owned by Columbo. I could go on with the list but that would be boring.

Just over 12 years ago I arrived in Hilo and shared a house with a friend of mine for almost a year - an astronomer and another cat enthusiast (I don't think I realised that until after I arrived) . At that time, and in my formative years, I loved dogs. They're great creatures: astonishingly loyal, affectionate and relatively easy to train. There's no greater pleasure than owning a well-trained dog and I didn't particularly like cats although I'd tolerate them. Unfortunately, dogs require high-maintenance and my house-mate convinced me to adopt a couple of cats instead.

Oh boy, sometimes I regret my decision to have a small family of cats, but most of the time it's been worth it. Four of them have owned me, two I've sadly lost, but I still have Eddie who's 12 now, and Bubbles, 11. Bubbles thinks Eddie is her mother, she's not, but will follow Eddie around as much as she can which annoys Eddie. It usually ends up in a fight although they've never actually injured each other. Then they make up every night.

I'd like to own a couple of dogs again one day but my lifestyle doesn't allow it. In the meantime, though, these girls provide an awful lot of entertainment and affection. They're family now.


Keera Ann Fox said...

Lovely kitties! I'm so glad you came over to the cat-side, dear dog lover. ;-)

Tom said...

Don't you mean the dark side? ;) The girls are so affectionate it's hard not to love them, but at their age they've become increasingly demanding (and vocal!). Fortunately neither have illnesses which require anything more than watching their diet, but my vet warned me that cats this age become very "needy", and he isn't wrong. They won't leave me alone...